Nut on my SG is a bit wonky

Discussion in 'Tone Zone' started by Rockdog, Jan 26, 2021.

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  1. Rockdog

    Rockdog New Member

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    I've been having some tuning and buzzing issues that I'm 99% sure can be attributed to the nut. It appears the last owner used heavy gauge strings, whereas I use 9's and 10's.

    I guess my options are to have my local luthier cut a new bone nut (he charges $100), or get a pre-slotted TUSQ.

    Curious what others have tried and where you've found success.
     
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  2. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    The Tusq nut will also need fitting and cutting, so the difference in price is really just that of the material. Do you definitely get no problems on fretted notes - just open strings? A couple of decent close-up pics from various angles would really help here.
     
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  3. Rockdog

    Rockdog New Member

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    IMG_3023.jpg IMG_3024.jpg IMG_3025.jpg IMG_3026.jpg
     
  4. Go Nigel Go

    Go Nigel Go Active Member

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    Agreed. While it is possible for the nut to cause buzz issues you will want to be really sure since the solution is likely going to be replacing the nut and getting the notches fitted to get proper string spacing, height, and geometry on headstock end of the neck. Once it's done, it's done, so money well spent, but you will want to be sure that is where the issue lies before you go that route.

    Are the open strings buzzing against a fret? I have never seen a buzz actually come from the nut itself. Not saying it isn't possible, but it seems unlikely. My guess would be that someone filed the notches for larger strings and got them too deep causing the string(s) to kiss the first fret. No way to tell for sure over the internet even with pictures, just a guess. I would take it to the luthier to check it out if you can't do the job yourself anyway, worst case scenario is he/she says you need a new nut and replaces it for you. They might even save you some money if the problem is actually somewhere else.

    The only other thing I can think of to try t home would be to try shimming the notch under the string with a thin piece of paper (like a rolling paper or similar). It won't be a long term solution, but if the buzz goes away you can be pretty sure you found the problem.

    Edit to add: just saw the pictures and that first fret does look pretty close in the photos.
     
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  5. Rockdog

    Rockdog New Member

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    Yes, the strings are very close to the first fret, and some more than others. The D string is actually making contact.

    I'll try shimming with pieces of rolling papers as you suggested. Thanks!
     
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  6. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    OK. There is a fix without changing the nut. Press some baking soda into the low slots, then add a drop of water-thin superglue. It will set rock hard and you can re-file to the depth you want. I promise this is a legit fix, and not just a temporary kludge.
     
  7. Go Nigel Go

    Go Nigel Go Active Member

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    Agree with the superglue/baking soda. That would also be a good repair, definitely not a "kludge". I guess it would depend on how much money you have on hand and how much you value your time as to whether it is cost effective compared to replacing the nut. If you just want to try it yourself for whatever reason though (as some of us do just enjoy a challenge) that would be the way to go about it. Just be super careful not to spill any glue, it will be very difficult to remove without damaging the finish. Putting some masking tape down on the fretboard and headstock would be a very good idea.
     
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  8. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Masking tape either side of the nut fixes any worries about spillage. More worrying for the nut replacement scenario is whether this is one that Gibson glued in with epoxy. Expect a really expensive repair if it is, because it is many hours of chipping, filing and scraping to get one of those b*stards out.
     
  9. Rockdog

    Rockdog New Member

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    Ugh, I hope that's not the case!
     
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  10. Go Nigel Go

    Go Nigel Go Active Member

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    Yeah, most reputable repair shops would probably fill the notch and refile anyway if the nut was epoxied in place. They might just do it that way anyhow, especially if the nut is otherwise in good shape. Depends on how many notches need to be done, how bad the damage is, and how long they think it would take compared to replacement. Either way, once it is done you will probably never have to mess with it again.

    Hope you can get it sorted yourself if you plan to try it. Doing it for the first time I would experiment with the glue and baking soda "off the guitar" a few times before trying to actually fill a notch just so you will have a better idea how the materials will behave and how much you need to use. The stuff is cheap, and a small bottle of superglue is enough to do several guitars worth of repairs.
     
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  11. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Well-Known Member

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    Done is absolutely right! Though I tend to use bone dust and super glue. Either works, and saves you from getting a new nut.
     
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  12. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Jan 27, 2021
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  13. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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  14. fuzbuzz78

    fuzbuzz78 Member

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    Dude... stop messing with baking soda and rolling papers. Take the guitar to your luthier. There really is no other long term solution. A properly cut nut will make a good guitar great!
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2021
  15. jtees4

    jtees4 Well-Known Member

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    I would "first" loosen the truss rod a little and see if that gives you some clearance to avoid buzzing, it's easy enough to reverse by just turning it back to where it was. Won't hurt anything, and it's free. The super glue thing does work by the way, I have done it and it lasted a long time. Just be careful about getting the glue on parts of the guitar where you don't want it, not that I've ever done that. OK, I did it:smile:
     
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